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Terry Tarnoff


The Bone Man of Benares is the story of an eight-year journey on the “hippie trail” to Europe, Africa, and Asia in the 1970s. “It’s a tumultuous love story, a spiritual odyssey, a cultural chronicle, and a rollicking escapade all rolled into one.”

The book was originally published by St. Martin’s Press in the U.S., Bantam Books in the UK, and Allen & Unwin Publishers in Australia, and has been translated into Italian, Chinese, and Japanese (two volumes).

It was later republished by Avian Press in the U.S. and is currently available in select bookstores or direct from Avian Press (with copies signed by author). Paperback and e-book versions are also available on Amazon.

The Bone Man of Benares audiobook was produced by Avian Audio in San Francisco and was released on February 2, 2019. It is exclusively available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.




The Bone Man of Benares is Terry Tarnoff’s memoir of his travels, falling in love, and one man’s search for his own soul. Described as ‘a wild-hearted celebration of cross-cultural discovery’ and ‘laugh-out-loud funny,’ this book is definitely a must-read.”

“The situations and characters in this book seem too good to be real, but having been one who was fortunate enough to travel on similar roads in relatively the same time period, they ring so true to me. I too wondered what a ‘bone man’ in Benares was – and I’ve been there! It was a time when stories and adventures were there for the experiencing. Artists, musicians, poets, free-thinkers, hippies were heading from Europe to Southeast Asia, by road, with some side trips in Africa, the Mid-East, or Scandinavia (as in the case of the author). He takes us on his journeys… Amsterdam, Scandinavia, Greece, Kenya, Benares (Varanasi), Kathmandu, Laos, Thailand, and Bali, with much introspection of life and events, sometimes verging on the edge of psychosis, but in a good-humored, laugh-at-yourself sort of way. A kaleidoscope of feelings and emotions, going off into brief stream of conscious meanderings leaving one chuckling. It’s not the places he’s visiting, but the chinks in the outer veneers that he keeps finding himself drawn into by the wonderful cast of friends and acquaintances he runs into along the way, by life.
This is a great read, and a great listen also. I listened to the Audible version of this book. Highly worthwhile. The author, Terry Tarnoff, reads/performs it himself, and does a wonderful job putting the feel into his work. Giving voices and personalities to the varied character’s dialogues, the author draws you right in. I felt as if I was traveling along with him, albeit, sometimes inside his mind seeing a multi-faceted view of events. Still quite the enjoyable trip, I actually listened twice as I so enjoyed the familiar world of the absurd I was transported to. And now I know about the ‘bone man’ of Benares.”

Noor Khan, author of Some Time on the Frontier: A Pakistan Journal

“This audiobook narrative by Terry Tarnoff of his book, The Bone Man Of Benares is masterful, and I recommend it to all those who’ve read ‘The Bone Man’ as well as those who have never had the unimaginable experience. Listening to Tarnoff’s many-faceted narrative is equal to watching Apocalypse Now for the first time — shrapnel and live fire hits you from everywhere and out of nowhere at any and all moments. It’s truly a literary and aural cinematic event. And you’ll never listen to another narrative like this one because this world is gone forever. Tarnoff’s adventures occur at a time when hippies, poets, musicians — wanderers with rucksacks — populated special places in the world. His voice, an amazing, powerful instrument with innumerable variations of tone and texture takes you on an existential, philosophical, epochal voyage through Africa and Asia with stops in Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Paris. While exuding the obsessions of a hyper-romantic, poetic young man in his twenties, Tarnoff’s adventures and observations of the intersection of hip international youth with the local populations of India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, and Indonesia become a fun-house of brilliant comedic revelations. He is able to reach high points of hilarious situational absurdity which one could never imagine occurring in today’s googled, globalized online ‘culture’. Tarnoff’s narrative is magical and hypnotic in its rhythms, which spill out in cascades of bright movie-like eruption, as we see the wonders of the East through his eyes. He consistently tantalizes us us with his razor-sharp, off-kiltered wonder at the insanity of the conundrums in which he continually finds himself on his eight-year journey. Tarnoff tackles the demons he finds within, often caught in a drug-infused swirl of hashish smoke and various powders during those hot, humid, monsoon-filled, somehow innocent times. There is an ecstatic and deeply humorous, laugh-out-loud convergence between Tarnoff’s mind and the reality of the bizarre world he travels through, and it all comes out with great immediacy and relevance in the inimitable voice of one who’s been to worlds we can no longer observe. We’re along for the ride, bouncing from chapter to chapter with some of the wackiest, most otherworldly characters in contemporary literature, as told by a character himself who is as confused and amazed as those he writes about, a narrator armed with deep wit, and downright interestingness.”
Michael Danzig, writer